Rollerskating & Rollerblading
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Rollerskating & Rollerblading
I want to get my old skates back on and ride around with my
kids on their bikes. They are 4 and 6 years old so do not
have great control yet on the bikes. They need a wide open,
flat space or uncrowded path. I need smooth pavement for the
skates. Are there any places like this in the East Bay? And
if not East Bay, anywhere in the Bay Area? We live in
Berkeley but would drive a little distance if there was an
ideal destination. The Berkeley Marina has a beautiful path
but too rough for skating. I would also love to find people
interested in joining us on this skating/biking adventure
but that is probably a subject for an entirely different
post. where do people skate outdoors?
I see a lot of people rollerblading on the 'Iron Horse
Trail' that stretches from Concord though Walnut Creek to
Dublin. The paving is quite good in most places. Going
south, there are lots of intersections from Walnut Creek to
Danville, but after that there are long sections without
much cross traffic. North of Walnut Creek there are long
sections without cross streets too. -bicycle guy
Back when I used to skate somewhat regularly, I went to the
Iron Horse Trail in Walnut Creek - it's the old railroad
right-of-way, so it's paved, flat and has relatively few
street crossings. It runs all the way from Concord to
Dublin, so you can pick it up at different spots and go the
distance you want, then return to your starting point. I've
taken my kids biking there a few times and it's good for
beginning bicyclists, too. More info:
Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail
also good for bikes, although I haven't tried it on skates.
Lastly, the bike paths around Bay Farm Island in Alameda
(map here:http://www.bikealameda.org/info/map/) are good for
bikes, but again, I haven't tried to skate them since I was
a kid. Scenic, cooler weather than CoCo, lagoons and ducks
to explore when you take a break. Looking forward to seeing
what others recommend, too! JP
I love the Richmond Marina
wide paths, nicely paved, never too crowded (maybe more so
on the weekends?) I enjoyed many rollerblading experiences
there and I'm someone who doesn't know how to brake very
well! My only concern is that it is right by the water so
if you're going too fast/out of control, there is no guard
rail...but the path is pretty wide. Plus a long windy
smooth path cuts through a huge grassy area (w/ picnic
tables, etc) so if you don't want to roller blade along the
path by the water, you can be surrounded by grass. It's
right by the water and the views are gorgeous. Its about 15
min away from Berkeley. The path actually connects all the
way to Pt Isabel (behind the Richmond Costco.) I've also
rollerbladed near the water in Emeryville (don't know what
the area is called but it is near the Chevy's) but the water
is smelly and the path much more narrow. The Richmond
Marina is a hidden gem and I'm always surprised that I don't
see more people enjoying the area. Richmond Marina lover
I don't know of anywhere in the East Bay, but a great day
trip for you might be to head to the east side of Golden
Gate Park on a Sunday when they close the road (JFK drive?)
to traffic from the Conservatory of Flowers to down past the
waterfall, leaving a wide smooth road open to walkers,
joggers, bikers and skaters. There is even a small area
that is usually full of people dancing on their roller
I have a 7-yr-old daughter who wants Heelys for her birthday.
I have reservations about them mainly for safety reasons. They
encourage being worn everywhere because they're a hybrid
between a toy and a shoe. There are so many places where it's
not appropriate to wear them it just seems like I'm inviting
into our lives a new thing for us to debate. I've already told
her that both her parents have to agree and that, if we do
agree, she'd have to wear a helmet any time she was wearing
them, but I still don't think it's sensible. If I restrict it
too much, they'll be a waste of money because she'll outgrow
them before she uses them much. Anybody with good Heely
experiences? Am I overthinking these?
Unsure of my stance
It really depends on your daughter--is she coordinated, with a
good sense of balance? Both of my kids had Heelys, starting
around age 7 or so. My son took a loooong time to get the hang of
them, and we made him wear a bike helmet and pads for quite a
while. My daughter (a dancer) didn't have any problem with
them--put them on and rolled off.
That being said, one of my daughter's classmates got a pair last
year at age 8, and promptly fell down and broke her leg. It's a
good idea to start with the helmet & pads, and restrict where she
can wear them.
I think Heely's are dangerous too. We got them for our 7 yo
daughter earlier this year, and she ended up falling on her
bottom really hard. She hasn't wanted to touch them since. I
would recommend trying some out first to see how your child
does. It probably depends on their level of
balance/coordination. Good luck!
I have a 9 year old daughter who got Heelys in Kindergarten.
They are kind of expensive, so we made her save her money and
pay half. She saved the money (even pulling weeds and walking
dogs) and off we went to buy them.
We were half convinced she would ''break her neck.'' We made her
wear a helmet in the beginning along with knee pads. (We still
think this was a good idea for the beginning.)
Within 2 days, she was doing great. She loves Heely's and we
bought her last pair at Costco for nearly 1/2 the price ($75 vs
$42). Get the Heely's one size bigger, but no more. Our friend
bought her daughter Heely's 3 sizes too big so she wouldn't have
to replace them and her daughter could not easily maneuver them,
ended up not wearing them for a year until she could control
Advantages: They come with a tool to take the wheels out. If our
daughter misuses hers, we take the wheels and she puts in the
plugs for an agreed upon time. They help your child develop
coordination. Your child feels more grown up, because let's face
it, these are not preschooler skates. No scuff marks - unlike
roller skates, Heely's don't leave marks on our wood floors or
tile. The stability of a shoe makes it safer. And finally,
they're really fun.
Disadvantages: Until your daughter learns to use them, she will
fall - a lot.
I say, let her have them. Let her know that there are rules and
that you get to have the wheels when the agreed upon rules are
not followed. Then watch her have fun.
Mom of Heely's Girl
My daughter, age 8, is on her second pair of Heeleys in two
years. I was hesitant to get them for her at first, mainly
because of the price. She loves them, especially anywhere with
smooth floors such as Safeway and Ikea, she never wears a helmet
or padding, and has never had a serious fall; I don't think she
really goes so fast or is so far off the ground that either are
necessary, and are actually a hindrance to good vision and
balance. She and the neighbor kid Heeley-race in the driveway
all the time. And they are an instant friend-maker, as soon as
she sees another kid with Heeleys, off they go.
--not a big deal
My son loves his Heelys and I think they are safe.
He fell once or twice before he got the hang
of it, but he fell right away, before he barely
moved. You either fall immediately or you "get it" and you're
fine. He does have to be watched so he doesn't wear them
someplace inappropriate, like stores or museums! I have on
occasion found myself on my knees wrenching the wheels out with
my hands (with sufficient desperation, it can be done --
you don't HAVE to use the little tool) because I didn't
realize he had them on until he started rolling in a "no-
When the Heely craze hit our house, I gave in & got some. At
the store (big 5) they had a sale table & I also got a pair for
myself. OK, the 9 year old practiced walking on his heels etc &
after a few days had his muscles and the whole thing together.
The 7 year old didn't practice and didn't learn how to do it.
The grown up tried it a few times but was scared I'd break my
back or something so mine have become loaners for 9 year old
Some people are really good at it and some are too scared. The
take away is that it requires a new set of muscles to hold your
feet up. I don't make him wear a helmet. I think the most
dangerous thing is perhaps causing someone else, a pedestrian,
to fall....courtesy is extra important. They do scuff up
floors. They had to out law 'em at school...
They say all over the packaging that they are dangerous. That's
a given. Can your child master it? I didn't know until they had
them. I was really scared , thought I was a crummy mummy... not
protecting enough... but, I try to let them build their
confidence and be responsible with their bodies so...
it's up to you.
In my opinion, yes, you're overthinking this. A helmet....for
heely's?!? That's so far over the top. She could fall down
your front steps probably more easily than in her shoes. The
way children learn to be physical is by being physical and
trying new things. Let her give it a shot, I bet she'll be
great at it. At 7, I was flying down driveways and hills on my
1980 rollerskates. Guess what...no helmet. A few scraped
knees and hands but I was a great skater. Loosen up on the
safety a little; save it for the big stuff - cars, roller
coasters, airplanes, etc. Let her explore her talents and her
body, that's how they find out their limitations. Good luck
and have fun with it!
Helmets are for riding motorcycles, not wearing shoes
I don't know about other folks but these shoes annoy the you-
know-what out of me. Kids rolling around in Target, Safeway,
etc., crashing into innocent shoppers, going too fast for
sidewalks, running into pets and the elderly. And the worst?
They never apologize nor do I see parents ever keep their kids
in line with these shoes.
I would say buy your child some rollerblades but leave the
Heely's at the store.
roller derby shopper
Your decision about heelys should be about your risk tolerance.
I would suggest helmets/knee elbow pads. Accidents happen. Here
is some info that originated with consumer reports.
My son, who is almost five, is excited about the idea of
learning to roller skate. I don't think he's quite ready for
it, though he has excellent balance and gross motor skills.
A friend of mine recommended that I look for skates that have a
feature which allows you to slow down the wheels, making them
safer for smaller children. She bought a pair for her daughter
years ago. Does anyone know where I can purchase a pair like
this? I have been looking online, but maybe I'm looking in the
Also, at what age do most children learn to roller skate? It's
been so long for me that I can't even remember! Thank you!
I can't help you with the skates, but re: ages. My daughters
(3 & 5) are up on ice skates, so I assume that we will
transition to roller skates as soon as the snow melts...My
friend had her daughter up on skates last summer at age 4, but
they were in-line skates. Her daughter has been ice-skating
for two years.
Let me just say, roller skating is GREAT and a much cheaper
hobby than ice skating. 5 years old is definitely old enough
to learn skate - I started taking my kids to the skating rink
when they were 3 and 5, and now at the ages of 5 and 7 they
happily skate around and around our deadend for hours. I think
you are talking about those skates where you can lock the back
wheels so they don't roll - my kids never used those - if the
back wheels don't roll, they aren't skating, they are walking,
so what is the point? I would say just buy regular skates and
some good knee pads and he will be fine. I would also
recommend having him learn how to skate at an indoor rink. My
kids skate outside now, but it was definitely easier for them
to learn on a nice smooth rink with a nice smooth handrail all
the way around.
loves to skate
My three year old uses a pair of Little Tikes brand plastic
skates bought at Tuesday Morning - included with knee and elbow
pads. Supposedly there are children's skates that don't roll
backwards which supposedly help reduce falls. But my 3yo does
fine with these cheapie plastic ones for now. They strap on
over her shoes, great introduction.
Our kids started rollerblading at 5yrs. Just make sure they're
well padded (wrist guards, knee & elbow pads, helmets) and send
them down the sidewalk! It's great training for their little
legs and balance.
I am looking for a long, flat, stretch of path to get some good
rollerblading time in. I lived in LA and was able to rollerblade
for miles from Malibu to Venice and I miss it. I've tried the
Ohlone path, but there are too many times I need to cross
streets and the transitions are really bumpy. I've also tried
Inspiration Point, which is a little too hilly. I'm ideally
looking for something in the Berkeley/El Cerrito area.
It sounds like the Berkeley Marina would be a great place for
you to find that flat stretch of land with the added bonus of a
great view! It is primarily a dog park but there are also many
runners and/or bikers there too. It is a little hilly with
curved paths but maybe a nice place to try out!
I'm not a rollerblader, but I've seen people rollerblading and skating along the Bay
Trail. You can start at the dog park at Point Isobel and head north all the way to the
Have you tried the bike path that goes from emeryville up to
the Richmond Marina. From Central Ave in El Cerrito/Richmond it
starts at the 580 off ramp and goes south along the highway
(ok, but its highway on one side, bay on the other) and north
goes more inland and ends up at the richmond marina and pt.
richmond. Its part of the Bay Trail that will eventually
encircle the bay. Going North from Central there are no streets
to cross. Going south there are a few at the major
Try the waterfront path at Pt. Isabel in Richmond, at the very
end of Central Street (exits off 580 and 80) that is part of
the round-the-Bay trail.
The new path next to the frontage road is great for
rollerblading. You can start at Gilman and go all the way to
Emeryville. I typically go over the pedestrian bridge by
University Ave., skate to Emeryville and back. Going up the ramp
of the pedestrian bridge is really good exercise, going down is
The other path is from the Albany Race track (Costco side)past
COSTCO (you can go around following the water to the Dog Park,
or cross Central Ave. and continue from there. Both ways meet
beyond the Post Office buildings there. You can take that trail
all the way to Richmond Marina. It can be a little rough in some
spots, but it is a beautiful trail.
I don't know if there is a plan to connect both ends of the
trail that are separated from the race track.
Roller blading mama
Try the bay trail that runs along I-80, on the bay side. It has
several entry points, including one at the west end of Gilman
Street, and seems to run from at least Richmond to Emeryville.
It's smooth and flat.
Point Isbel sounds like what you're looking for. You can start
at the dog park parking lot -- 80W to Central Ave. exit, left on
Central and right at the patio furniture store (I don't know the
street name - it's the block before Costco) -- and go for miles
into Richmond. I think you can now go the other direction along
the shoreline to Emeryville too, but I haven't tried it yet.
Another, shorter, but still flat, round route is around Aquatic
Park Estuary in Berkeley -- it takes my kids around 20 minutes
on their bikes (I follow with rollerblades). Also around Cesar
Chavez park at the Berkeley Marina is nice. Not entirely flat,
but the hills are not like the steep parts of Inspiration point
Try the Bay trail. The easiest place to get on it is at
Central Avenue (down by Costco). Plenty of Parking at the Dog
Park or right at Central and Jacuzzi Street. It can take you
down to the Richmond Marina or Berkeley Marina, depending
wchich way you want to go. The way to Richmond is very nice,
paved trail, with a deli at the end of the trail. I see lots
of rollerbladers there (I am a walker).
Point Isabel in Richmond (very near EC) is popular.
Try the Richmond Marina - the flat pathway along the marina, or
next to the bay, and you can't beat the beautiful scenery...
try the bike path at Pt Isabel. You can go towards emeryville or the
richmond marina, quite a few miles, very smooth, no cross traffic,
beautiful bay views.
My almost 3 year old daughter desperately wants a pair of roller
skates. Any recommendations for where to get some (besides
Toys-R-Us) that are actually usable? The ones I've seen for
little kids have lousy wheels that don't really turn.
If you want some really decent skates (I skated competitively
when I was a kid--good skates can make or break a kid's first
impression of the sport), check out this website:
They have some decent, beginner kids' skates, at discount prices.
Also, if she's really into it, you can try the beginner lessons
at the rink in Hayward. They take kids as young as 3, as long as
they fit into the skates. Happy Rolling!
Sketchers makes roller skates (''quads'') for adults and children.
I think they end up around $60 dollars, which is a little pricey
but I have a pair of the adult skates, and so far they are
sturdy. Nothing crummy about the wheels, and some designs even
have a glitter strips.
'80 roller skater
I would like a recommendation for a place to buy rollerblades
for myself. I have not bladed before, but I am a pretty good
ice skater who can't get to a rink. Where are there
knowledgeable staff who can help me pick a good skate at a
About 4 years ago I rented roller blades from Karim Cyclery on
Telegraph (I think that's how it's spelled). It's around Blake
After I was done renting them, they sold me the rollerblades for
a really good price, along with a deal on elbow and knee guards.
They also have new ones there and the staff seems to be pretty
knowledgable and helpful (at least they were at that time).
Can anyone recommend 1. Rollerblading lessons (I'm pretty good but I still
can't stop!) for adults and children. 2. A good place to rollerblade
3. Rollerblading parks?
Liz Miller is a certified "in-line" skating teacher. She teaches through the
East Bay Parks dept. (I don't know their number but it shouldn't be hard to
find). She's great.
I took a beginning adult class from her 2 summers ago. First thing she taught
was how to put on all the equipment, why you should never ever skate without
all of the safety equipment no matter how good you are, how to put on the
skates, how to stand up, how to roll....and on and on...and how to stop,
We did it at Miller Knox Park in Point Richmond. They have a big concrete
slab there that's nice and smooth for pracaticing on. There's also a park in
Alameda that she teaches at but I can't remember the name of it.
Mira Vista Elementary School in East Richmond has a newly paved very big
play yard thats great for roller blading.
There is a book, also written by Liz Miller on places to roller blade in
The book is broken down into geographical areas and further broken down by
difficulty of trail. I'd definately try to get in touch with Liz. Have fun.
The Berkeley marina has a great big loop for rollerblading,
but you will need to know how to stop because there are hills!
Also Iron Trail from Walnut Creek to Danville, I think (this one
is pretty flat). I also used to pracitice on public tennis courts
at night (when they are not in use).
I took a private lesson from a woman who seemed extremely competent and
413 Central ave.
Alameda CA 94501
annask8 AT slip.net
This is web url for summer schedules:
Rec. from Sherry Reinhardt--yes folks I did want to rollerblade before
seriously injuring my ankle and may return as a senior skater.
My husband owns Dry Ice, a roller hockey rink in Oakland, off
Hegenberger, just off 880. They have extensive kids' leagues that run
throughout the year, and a very high level of play. They have
beginner, intermediate and advanced leagues for each age division
though. There are seven youth leagues, and the next league starts in
September. Call 562-9499 for more information, or see the web site
this page was last updated: Oct 11, 2012
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